Fancy Places, Part Four: Santa Rosa, The Charles Schulz Museum, and Peanuts.
As a side note, Peppermint Patty is my favorite Peanuts character, in competition with Snoopy. So her inclusion above was long overdue…especially considering that I’ve done about a half dozen posts about Schulz, the museum, and his work.
The bit above deals with an odd piece of Adequacy based trivia. The only original artwork for Adequacy not in my possession is a piece drawn in their educational room about two years ago. That 8 1/2 X 11 sketch is in the museum’s collection, and when I drew it there was a big fuss made. I was just happy to have a place to sit down and draw, better yet that it was within easy reach of Schulz’ actual studio and desk. That piece, remastered to a degree is here:
That in itself is pretty cool. This time I actually took the tour, which was pretty well handled. Like many decent driven tours, it was worth it to take, and then go back through the exhibits for real detail. The downstairs exhibits were on the prevalance of hockey and ice sports in the Peanuts strip, and also one about the making of Peanuts and other animation. I was pretty excited about the hockey exhibit, since I know that Schulz himself loved the sport, and played it. The Zamboni corporation sent him many letters in thanks for the positive appearances of their ice smoothing machine, as well. That’s also pretty relevant to my last visit, which had this piece of art as well:
That was inspired by this strip, done by Schulz himself. The original art, with corrections and paste ups for a Sunday, uncolored, was on display downstairs in the hockey exhibit.
I drew during breakfast before the trip to the museum this time as well. In expectation of the hockey exhibit (but not any expectation of seeing the zamboni art) I drew this shot of Snoopy playing hockey.
That, in turn, had been referenced by a bench I had seen here in Santa Rosa. The photo doesn’t do it justice, since the bench is curved, and the photo isn’t. Still, the art above proved just how hard it is to draw Snoopy, to get a feeling of Schulz’ line work. I can’t imagine trying to do that in paint, on a sequence of wooden slats:
Again, Peppermint Patty is probably my favorite character in the cast, and one of two that Schulz thought could carry a daily strip on their own. In the hockey exhibit she features prominently, since one of the few times she wears a dress is for an ice skating competition, and she is constantly at that point trying to get the ice for herself to practice. In reference to her prevalence in those storylines, there was a pretty big wall mural piece of Peppermint Patty:
Unexpectedly, the same exhibit had a strip in the collection (original art, or course) that reflected my current condition, and even how I had my accident which injured my left arm:
I actually do, my arm has been really hassling me the past few days. That of course kept me from braving the skating rink (I told you that Schulz loved skating and hockey, right?) but except for that, hasn’t been a big hassle. There are giant sculptures of Peanuts characters at the museum, and all over Santa Rosa. This one, of Charlie Brown outside the Hockey rink struck me as funny. Charlie Brown is holding out his left arm (the arm I screwed up falling) and looking pretty smug about it. Everything is supposed to go wrong for him, right?
I also like Linus a whole lot, and drew this over lunch. In case it’s not obvious, the punchline is about the automail arm gear not letting our hero reach her mouth, like Linus with his thumbs. This is sadly a punch line founded in reality, as my splint keeps me from similar freedom of motion. At least I’m having a sense of humor about it. I feel like that would be Linus’ advice, as the most intelligent and introspective of the Peanuts Gang.
The downstairs area, in the lobby, featured these huge, really well done character portraits of Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Linus. I took a photo of Linus from that line up…partially because the term “security blanket” was actually added to DSM IV, the psychology tome, as a direct result of the prevalence of Schulz’ work, and the recognizability of Linus and his blanket.
Also downstairs is a courtyard where you can sit and draw, or whatever. There are sculpted art installations there, some of which are pretty interesting. My favorite is in two parts. The first is the huge Linus with a number 2 pencil, as if he were going to take a California state examination of some kind…
…with the questions that are installed on a metal placard right by him. That’s the photo below, True Believers.
The animation exhibit could have been better in my opinion. Peanuts animated features have a rich history and a huge amount of material, but the animation exhibit focused mainly on the Christmas special, with an overview of how animation is done in the first place. It was a good summation of the production history of the first special, but I had already done more detailed research on that very point for this post. It would have been nice to see a bit more about other features, or animation cels from the breadth of those materials.
Still, they did have this…
…which I heavily referenced all of the past December, with Baby Groot. Let’s look at the pencils for one of those, directly referencing the Christmas Special.
Just outside the animation exhibit there was a HUGE wall mural with one of my favorite Snoopy schticks, the World War One Flying Ace. Apparently, there is a whole upcoming “Red Baron” exhibit which I might have to keep an eye out for, and make this trip again sooner than two years from now. I took a photo of one of the panels, reproduced here in glorious color for your enjoyment:
In the gift shop, there is a whole wall mural of Snoopy leading his troop of birdies and Woodstock on some sort of scouting expedition. This is another schtick that I love, and has heavily influenced the way that I attempt to be a teacher. That and Full Metal Jacket. The wall mural is made entirely out of carefully cut sections of shag carpet. SHAG CARPET.
In the gift shop I stocked up on Peppermint Patty gear that they didn’t have last time, and got a pin of Snoopy driving a zamboni. People that know abou my interest in the strip and Schulz’ work, and know that Peppermint Patty is my favorite character invariably ask if Patty and Marcie are lesbians. Granted, the internet seems to have made that conclusion, as have television shows such as “Saturday Night Live,” “Family Guy,” “Robot Chicken,” “The Simpsons.” and “The Big Bang Theory.” Charles M. Schulz denied that there was any truth in this interpretation, saying that the characters are supposed to be very young children and they both have crushes on Charlie Brown.
Clearly, without any interpretation of possible subtext, Peppermint Patty and Marcie are two best friends, who are very different. Marcie is an intelligent student, while Peppermint Patty can be very dense in school. Peppermint Patty is athletic, while Marcie is not. Peppermint Patty has a more light-hearted personality, while Marcie is usually serious. Because of these differences, the two of them, unlike most other friends in Peanuts, often annoy each other, and make fun of each other.
When the two friends get angry at each other the reader never sees them apologize. They are just friends again the next day.
I didn’t have another attempt at drawing in Schulz’ style in me, but wanted to end on a Peppermint Patty related note. I decided since Peanuts is 65 years old (WOW) that I’d interpret Patty and Marcie as older, and draw in more of my own “house style.” I also wanted to make a piece which can be interpreted by either camp. So, with the art below…if you think that they are a couple, that’s fine. If you think that they are best friends, that’s fine too. I leave that ruling to you, the reader.
True Believers…don’t expect such a Mega-Post for some time. This was draining in the extreme. Worth it, but a lot of hard work.
If you’re ever in Santa Rosa, the Museum is worth the trip. Hopefully that was clear enough.